While WrestleMania 23 may be best known for the ‘Battle of the Billionaires’ between Vince McMahon and the future President of the United States Donald Trump. Earlier in the night, The Undertaker tore the house down in defeating Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship.
However, it has been revealed that Batista wasn’t originally intended to be the Deadman’s opponent on that April night in 2007.
In a new interview with Lucha Libre Online former WWE Superstar Elijah Burke has detailed plans that would have seen Taker meet former MMA fighter Sylvester Terkay, instead of taking on the Heavyweight Champion Batista.
Terkay had signed with WWE back in 2006 debuting on the main roster later that year. The former kickboxer went on to join forces with Burke moving over the ECW brand. However, Terkay would be released from the company in January 2007.
Terkay’s former on-screen running partner explained that the MMA fighter had been brought in because of Undertaker’s love of Mixed Martial Arts, and he was more than happy to ride on coattails of a story between the two.
“It’s crazy because, that WrestleMania , the whole plan was for Sylvester Terkay and The Undertaker… and I had no problem with it. Young Elijah Burke riding the coattails of Sylvester Terkay to go against The Undertaker.
They brought Sylvester Terkay in specifically because Undertaker was, and is, a huge MMA guy. Undertaker loved the physicalness, the legitness [sic] of MMA. He loved to bray that type of wherewithal and create that type of magic inside the wrestling ring.
“Certainly standing out there at WrestleMania, had it been Sylverster Terkay and The Undertaker I wouldn’t have minded taking a big boot off the apron or a chokeslam.”
With Terkay out of the picture by the time WrestleMania rolled around, Burke appeared in an eight-man tag team match match between the ECW Original and The New Breed, with the veterans picking up the win. Burke would remain with WWE until November 2008 when he was released from his contract.
Burke currently appears for the NWA as Da Pope, where he won the NWA Television Championship in October.
Since a brief two-year stint in Japan beginning in 2010, Terkay eventually moved away from wrestling, transitioning into become a TV and movie actor.
H/t to Cultaholic for the transcription.